MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
First Lt. Ralph "Bo" Korpman, an active-duty U.S. Air Force officer who also commands the Rio del Fierro Composite Squadron in Civil Air Patrol’s Texas Wing, has been named the Air Education and Training Command's 2019 Instructor of the Year among 60,000 personnel.
Since joining CAP, the Air Force auxiliary, in 2014, Korpman has served as a squadron commander, deputy commander of cadets, orientation flight pilot and transport mission pilot.
“We are thrilled to have Bo on our team. He represents the very best of us and the best in our nation,” said Maj. Gen. Bryan Radliff, reserve adviser to the commander, First Air Force, Air Forces Northern. “This well-earned recognition is an indicator of the quality Bo and so many CAP volunteers bring to the mission, providing training, assistance and support to our communities nationwide every day,”
As a Total Force partner and the U.S. Air Force auxiliary, CAP is aligned with First Air Force to rapidly respond to non-military threats domestically. With this mission members are working as an Air Force component in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities capacity.
"We are very proud that 1st Lt. Bo Korpman is being recognized for this award," said Col. Arlinda Bailey, Civil Air Patrol's national executive officer. "He served as a mentor and role model for youth, paving the way for future leaders.
“In 2019 alone, he spent over 500 hours volunteering as a squadron commander and an orientation flight pilot,” Bailey said.
When Korpman, who serves in the 459th Flying Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, received the call from his commander late on a weeknight, he recalled, his immediate thought was “Oh no, what's wrong?”
"When he asked me if I was sitting down, I thought he was kidding," Korpman said. "I'm glad I was, however, because news of the award was overwhelming. It is a tremendous honor to have been recognized at that level for my work and accomplishments, and I hope the award is a perspicuous attestation to the broader quality of the Air Force's first-assignment instructors."
In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and 1,550 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the AFNORTH Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Often using innovative cellphone forensics and radar analysis software, CAP was credited by the AFRCC with saving 110 lives in fiscal 2019.
“Bo has always been an outstanding officer," said Lt. Col. Steven Norris, 459th Flying Training Squadron commander. "He’s worked long hours making complex problems seem easy. He has never complained; he persevered and solved any issues that came his way.
“Bo is humble and tries to lift up those around him through his actions. He exemplifies what it means to be a great wingman,” Norris said.